First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information, visitor restrictions, testing, treatment, and additional resources
Home > Health Library > Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) of infants, sometimes called hyaline membrane disease, is a serious condition that most commonly occurs in babies who are born before their lungs are fully developed. The lungs do not fully inflate or function normally, making breathing difficult or impossible without medical intervention.
RDS occurs when the lungs fail to produce enough surfactant, a substance that helps the lungs stay properly inflated. Normally, the lungs produce surfactant close to the time of birth. Babies born before the lungs have produced this substance often require oxygen therapy or a ventilator machine to help them breathe. A baby's lungs usually will improve after a medicine form of surfactant is delivered through a breathing tube into the lungs.
Current as of: September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.